Give Me Some Sauce Tuesday (North Carolina BBQ Sauce)

North Carolina BBQ Sauce and Pulled Pork

Memorial Day has come and gone. My yard that was supposed to be weed free, trees trimmed, waterfall working and all chores completed is nowhere near ready for summer to begin. Officially, I have now chosen the  first official date of summer, June 21st, to try to meet my yard deadlines. By that time, veggies will be in, seeds planted, dead trees cut down, new outdoor chairs bought, weeds gone, wagon welded, sprinklers fixed, swamp cooler on, and rabbits obliterated, or so the rabbit catcher has told me.

So far the rabbits are winning the game. Rabbit catcher put up heavy green plastic webbing around our fence. The rabbits chewed through the bottom. He blocked that hole off with a big rock and they then proceeded to chew through a spot two feet off the ground. It appears the rabbit catcher is training these rabbits how to fight back. He has now used an entire container of sriracha to spray what they are eating. They don’t like that but they haven’t left. With manly pride he caught a cute, bewildered, baby bunny by the scruff of his neck on Sunday. Quickly, he was banished into coyote territory as he ceremoniously was put in the car and driven away.

Yes, the rabbit catcher has been working hard catching rabbits and I am afraid that is why there are so many chores left on my list. My last few weekends have been spent cooking, though you wouldn’t know it from this blog. Memorial Day found me making this bbq sauce and all the fixings to go with pulled pork. My son even showed up when the rabbit catcher sent him a text from my phone saying BBQ at 6. Apparently, the rabbit catcher thought he might not show up if he sent it from his phone. It worked and he arrived and we were happy to see him.


The bride’s color was purple.
Our friend’s china was from Gumps and perfect for this shower!
The mimosa bar.

Last weekend found me and a few friends giving a bridal shower brunch. It was fun planning together and doing something that was also creative and fun to cook. The color of the day was purple and the shower was around the clock. Cheese souffle made an appearance as did mimosas and red velvet brownies. Definitely, a ladies brunch which worked out well, since no men were invited!

Yesterday found me waking up and thinking about what to tell you. That is until I went into the kitchen and discovered my son having breakfast. He decided to visit and arrived at midnight Sunday, but we were sound asleep. The dogs did bark and we didn’t even hear them. Creepy, my daughter said. The perfect Folger’s commercial… I thought, though I didn’t have Folger’s in my cup. He and I went for dim sum and then to the Asian grocery. Last night we made grilled meatball banh mi’s and I promise I will share soon.

But back to bbq. I believe man discovered fire and then man discovered bbq. I’m not sure when man discovered beer. As soon as man discovered sugar, well, that was probably when sauce was invented. There are so many varieties of sauce that it is hard to choose which to make. In this case I decided to go with a simple sauce as a smoked pork shoulder is so rich that it doesn’t require much to bring out its flavor. We also smoked a few chicken breasts and this sauce worked well with the chicken, too.

This is a tart sauce though it does have some sweetness. It is drizzled on and mixed with the shreds of pork to give it flavor and moisture. It also helps cut the richness of the pork. I don’t like mine quite as tart as apparently some North Carolinian’s do, so I admit to adding a bit more sugar and cutting back on the vinegar. It is a good sauce to keep in the fridge as it lasts a long time and is even good with things like grilled shrimp or salmon. Remember this is not sweet. It would be great for burritos or on a bbq chicken pizza as is is not cloying and it doesn’t make you pucker either.

We grill out a lot in the summer as we do not have air conditioning. Generally in Colorado it isn’t necessary as it usually cools down in the evenings. But my swamp cooler is closer to the bedrooms, which can make my kitchen quite hot to cook in. Therefore I tend to cook out-a lot! In that vein, I thought it might be fun to feature a sauce or a marinade a week that can be used for grilling. Stick with me and by the end of the summer I promise you will have marinades and sauces from around the globe to add to your grilling repertoire.

I’m going to send you to the Epicurious site for the pulled pork recipe. It is one I’ve made since apparently, July 1999. This is a winner. And a blue ribbon one at that. The flavor brings me back to our days of driving to Texas to visit the rabbit catcher’s parents. Along the way he knew of great small groceries or road side stands that served bbq on white sandwich bread with the sauce on the side. Hamburger dill pickles were on the side, too. The sandwich always came wrapped in waxed paper and handed to us with lots of cheap napkins and there was always an old splintery picnic bench, under the only tree in the area to sit at. I could never get enough of those $1.75 sandwiches. Anywho, this recipe reminds of those sandwiches found somewhere along the old highways of Texas. If the truck broke down which it did, more than it didn’t, we could always find bbq. There’s something to be said for that.


My North Carolina BBQ Sauce  (Makes about 2 cups)

1/2 c white or apple cider vinegar
3/4 c ketchup (I use Heinz) Well, is there any other kind?
3 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t Tabasco
1/2 c water
Mix together and it is ready. Really, how easy is that?

Other good things to try:
Not My Mama’s Cherry Pie
St Germain Lemon Aid
Elote Corn in a Bowl
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Please Pin and Share:

You Might Also Like

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Liquid Fence? Now this will need to be checked out. This sauce doesn't have quite as much vinegar as some NC ones, but it is a great sauce. thanks for stopping by and good luck with the deer!

  • Two Healthy Kitchens
    June 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    We literally just returned from a North Carolina vacation last night (and yes … among many other wonderful meals, we enjoyed fabulous, vinegary-sweet pulled pork)! What perfect timing that I found this delicious recipe today! My mouth is watering already! Good luck to your rabbit catcher – I feel his pain. My own personal battle is with deer (so beautiful except when they're munching my flowers!), and I thank my lucky stars that Liquid Fence was ever invented!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    You must Natalie. It's also good to keep in the fridge in a squirt bottle. Noticed the rabbit catcher squirting it on tortilla chips before he shoved them in his mouth.

  • Natalie G
    June 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Yum yum that sauce reminds me of summer and BBQ's, must try it out.

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks, Laura. They smell so good, too! Rabbit catcher does spray with hot sauce but every time it rains, he has to do it again. I wish bunnies were the least of our problems!

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    June 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    That rabbit story is hilarious, but not for you I know! This is a great and fast sauce, love to try it Abbe! Pulled pork has got to be one of the best things ever. And that mimosa bar a close second…!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      June 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I love pulled pork but this would also be good with smoked chicken, too. Or on those little biscuits of yours!

  • Laura Dembowski
    June 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Those lilies are BEAUTIFUL! I love lilies and all flowers really. My dad sprays all of our plants with the hottest hot sauce he can find to keep all the critters away – bunnies are the least of our problems, and it works for the most part.

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    June 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I love all things BBQ and the Carolina sauce sounds great. Love that your son surprised you – so sweet 🙂 You need rabbit catchers like mine. Abby & Mocha – the Jack Russell pair – are up on the possums and rabbits but I'm afraid it's not a catch and release program. They work like tag team raptors. My garden is safe. That mimosa bar looks great and so does your sandwich. Good luck on the yard list!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      June 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Tricia, i do need rabbit catchers. We have George and Freddie but they are not a good team. Freddie barks to cheer George on but he has such long hair I'm not sure he sees what he is supposed to be chasing. Freddie caught a few and ate them whole when we first got her but she appears to be too well fed, now!When is the wedding?

  • Angie Schneider
    June 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    The barbecue sauce sounds to die for, Abbe, and it's not even loaded with sugar. I love Heinz and just bought a couple of bottles of chilli tomato sauce.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      June 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Angie, it is very good.And you are right it is not loaded with sugar the way many are. (Or corn syrup for that matter.) And remember though that the chili sauce is not the ketchup. But it is still good!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 5, 2013 at 3:49 am

    There are so many rabbits they could be standing on each other's shoulders! Lettuce, flowers, you name it. Our grass looks like we had a herd of goats grazing on it. And great story about beer. Makes total sense. And we all love our beer!Thanks for filling us in!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    June 5, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I have a vision of rabbit standing on the shoulder of another rabbit to chew that hole in the fence 2 feet off the ground! Rabbits just got our entire lettuce crop. When your husband is done, tell him there's work here for him to do! Anyway, nice sauce. I love all the different sauces out there, and NC does some good ones. When it comes to a vinegar-heavy sauce, I'm torn between this and the SC mustard ones. Good thing I can have them both! Oh, and regarding beer, there's some thought that humans first turned to agriculture not for a ready source of food, but because they had discovered they could ferment grain into beer. So they started growing the stuff. And because it took awhile to grow, that's why they began to settle down rather than be so nomadic. They wanted to protect their grain so other nomads wouldn't find it, and make beer!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Oh Cindela, hope you are well. Soon you will have a chance to catch up with my boy, too. It appears he is moving to Sonoma to work at a place there. We will be keeping you posted!And smiling is definiley good.

    • Cindy
      June 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      my dream come true!!!!!

  • Cindy
    June 5, 2013 at 3:07 am

    sounds delicious. I love reading your posts. they make me smile!

  • Abbe Odenwalder
    June 5, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Chipmunks in Indianpolis! I thought they only lived in the mountains. I have chipmunk stories, too! It is a great recipe for pulled pork, Liz.

    Biz, your sounds very authentic. But you may want to add more vinegar to yours. We did cook the pork shoulder or Boston Butt for about 6 hours, but not overnight. I'll bet his was great! If you go to the site and read the recipe it gives the rub and the mop which you definitely want to use. Then I stirred in a bit of sauce. True, we Midwesterners like our sauce!

  • ChgoJohn
    June 5, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I, too, love a vinegary barbecue sauce and have been looking for a quick and easy Carolina sauce. Thanks for ending my quest! Whenever it was, we should all be thankful that beer was discovered after barbecuing — and most other cooking forms — or we surely wouldn't be here, our ancestors having starved long, long ago. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      June 5, 2013 at 2:41 am

      John, you may want to add more vinegar to yours but to me it is just the right balance. And beer, well my son brews his own, but I'm not sure when we'll see that again!He discovered brewing when he discovered that brew stores could sell him supplies even though he wasn't legal! Used to make it in a friend's basement and by the time we discovered that, he was quite accomplished!

  • Biz
    June 4, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    I loves me some Carolina BBQ sauce – the more vinegar the better. I'll definitely give yours a try. My grandpa was from Eastern North Carolina – his idea of pork bbq was to cook the pork shoulder overnight low and slow, remove the bones and some of the fat, chop it up with a butcher knife, then add in vinegar, Tabasco and crushed red pepper and cook it another 8 hours.

    So good! The first time I made it for my husband he asked "where is the bbq sauce?!" Love how busy you've been!

  • Liz Berg
    June 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    LOL about the rabbits….in our yard it's the chipmunks! Your pulled pork looks terrific….I made my first batch last summer and will have to try yours soon. Thanks for the inspiration!